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New BASF investments in China to support auto, chemical industries

By WANG YING in Shanghai | | Updated: 2017-12-11 20:26

Encouraged by China‘s robust growth outlook for automotive and chemical production,German chemical giant BASF SE keeps increasing its investments in China.

After announcing the operation of a world-class chemical catalyst manufacturing plant in Shanghai late last month, BASF kicked off production of its 140 million euros automotive coatings facility, another factory in Shanghai.

The coatings project is an extension of the company‘s existing 50 million euros automotive coatings plant, a joint venture between BASF and Shanghai Huayi Fine Chemical. It will further enhance the company’s local production and better serve the growing automotive market in China and the Asia-Pacific, according to the company.

In 2016, 48.6 million light vehicle units were produced in the Asia-Pacific region, accounting for 52 percent of global production.

China manufactured 28.12 million and sold 28.03 million cars in 2016, up 14.5 percent and 13.7 percent respectively, the eighth year in row of being the world's largest automobile market, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

The new plant producing thinners, primers, clear coats and waterborne base coats will be supported by a new automotive application center providing automotive manufacturers access to advanced R&D facilities, including a 3-D robot for coatings application at the BASF Innovation Campus Asia Pacific (Shanghai), by the end of 2018.

“The global automotive market is expected to continue to grow significantly, with China as the biggest driver. The inauguration of this new plant in Shanghai will help us to support the growth of our customers and take an active role in developing the Chinese automotive market,” said Dirk Bremm, president of BASF’s coatings division.

The new catalyst manufacturing plant launched Nov 30 is BASF’s first chemical catalyst manufacturing facility in the Asia-Pacific region. Wholly owned by BASF, the plant will serve the growing chemical industry in China and around the Asia-Pacific region, with base metal catalysts and absorbents.

“The start of our new, world-scale production plant for chemical catalysts in Shanghai represents a milestone for our process catalysts business. Sixty percent of the world’s chemical production will happen in Asia by 2020, with more than half in China,” said Detlef Ruff, BASF’s senior vice-president, process catalysts.

According to Ruff, local production will significantly help BASF strengthen relationships with customers from the chemical industry in Asia and further enhance the customer experience with improved product availability and shortened lead times.
"In combination with the BASF Innovation Campus Asia Pacific in Shanghai, we can now offer our customers regional specific development and production of the latest catalyst technologies. The plant also offers potential for additional expansion as well as flexibility to adapt to new customer production requirements in the years to come,” he said.

“Together with our partners, BASF has invested 19.7 billion yuan as of the end of 2016 in state-of-the-art production located in Caojing of Shanghai. What we produce here directly supports the development and modernization of Chinese industry. Our solutions improve efficiency and sustainability in the chemical industry and other industries, and reduce reliance on imports, thus enhancing competitiveness of our customers in light of supply-side reform,” said Stephan Kothrade, president functions Asia-Pacific, president and chairman Greater China, BASF.

China’s supply-side reform aims to manage market capacities and boost innovation.

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